June 2012 Visit Shetland Newsletter
I'm Abby, author of Postcards from Shetland, and I'm here again with the latest Shetland happenings, information and holiday suggestions. If you are considering a visit to Shetland, please do not hesitate to contact us for holiday planning advice, using either the contact form on the website or by phoning +44 (0) 1595 98 98 98.
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Since we last spoke… I've been busy!
The other morning I took the plunge – my first swim of the season in Ollaberry. Invigorating!! A sunny afternoon was spent exploring and I discovered a massive fault line – Walls Boundary Fault - part of the Great Glen Fault system; a series of massive splits in the Earth's crust that slice through the Great Glen of Scotland to Shetland and the best exposure of a major shear fault in the UK! I can't wait to attend Geopark Shetland events during Shetland Nature Festival (7th-15th July) and learn more about our dramatic landscapes.
I've been rock climbing in Culswick (an easy circular walk and incredible vistas) and watched Seals play at Little Bousta, shopped for local produce and arts and crafts at Tingwall Farmers" Market, enjoyed a night's entertainment at the Folk Festival (Jazz Festival this month!) and been wowed by another mesmerizing island… It's a cliché, but true – Shetland offers something for everyone and each day offers an exciting voyage of discovery…
Welcome to "Da Bonnie Isle"
Whalsay is known as "Da Bonnie Isle", it's also very welcoming (lots of waving and smiling!) and only takes half an hour by ferry to reach Symbister – the hub of the thriving fishing community. My first stop was the picturesque Pier House Museum, restored in the 1830s and a symbol of trade links between Shetland and Germany during the Hanseatic period – tales of wicked lairds, German merchants and the Hanseatic League are fascinating. A short drive brought me to Britain's most northerly golf course at Skaw and I walked along the magnificent coastline for several hours - otter holts abound and be sure to keep an eye out for the two spectacular Neolithic houses of Yoxie and Beenie Hoose at Pettigarths Field. The day flew by and I soon realized a visit to the Heritage Centre and Andrea Williamson's studio (featured on the Craft Trail) would have to wait for another day. "Where did the time go?" I said to hubby. "Chatting," he replied with a wry smile!
Unst – "the island above all others" and a great place for cake!
Yummy carrot cake at Northern Lights Café and a breathtaking walk for afters – a delicious day out! The Burral and Sandwick walk is an easy ramble and the accompanying booklet (purchase locally) provides a superb history of the old crofts, ancient kirkyard and wow-factor Sandwick beach with Iron Age and Norse settlements (the Norse Longhouse is incredible!) There is so much to see and do on this magical island and I find the entrepreneurial spirit quite inspiring, as are the community-led initiatives such as the recently awarded and well deserved "Walkers are Welcome" status. My next trip will include a visit to Valhalla Brewery (now relocated to larger premises at Saxa Vord) and a return to National Nature Reserves at Hermaness and Keen of Hamar (fantastic wildlife watching and botanist's paradise) and, of course, regular cake breaks to fuel my activities!
Shetland – a new BBC One drama!
Acclaimed Scots actor Douglas Henshall is to star in a new BBC One crime drama Shetland - he's been cast as the Fair Isle born Detective Jimmy Perez returning to the islands to solve a murder mystery. The two-part drama written by David Kane is based on Ann Cleeves" award-winning crime novel Red Bones (if you haven't read the Shetland Quartet – do!) Ann lived on Fair Isle for a couple of years and is a regular visitor to Shetland. Back in 2009 I attended a talk given by her at Shetland's excellent annual book festival – Wordplay, soon afterwards I purchased the first book in the series - the chilling Raven Black - it will send shivers down your spine! The drama is due to be filmed in Shetland during the summer and screened later in the year. I'll keep you posted!
I ♥ Mondays at Islesburgh Community Centre, Lerwick
Islesburgh Community Centre is a hub of activity and the perfect family friendly venue to spend an evening and experience the very best in Shetland music, crafts and produce. Every Monday from 11th June – 3rd September the finest Shetland musicians will entertain you, share techniques and no doubt many a good yarn too! The music show begins at 7.30pm – it's an informal affair and a great opportunity to chat with the performers after the show and learn about Shetland's musical heritage. Islesburgh also has a renowned café where moreish local produce can be enjoyed (open until 9.00pm every Monday). Don't forget to indulge in some retail therapy too - the crafts hall opens at 7.00pm and it's an ideal place to meet the maker. This one-stop Shetland showcase is a must-visit! For the latest weekly updates or to book tickets, visit: www.islesburgh.org.uk or call: 01595 745100
WIN a hamper and tantalize those tastebuds!
Congratulations to May's prizewinner Miss Anne Taylor, Northumberland - a stunning handmade Moorish clutch purse, created by Aamos Designs, is in the post! Oooh my mouth is watering as I read Jay's email describing June's prize - a hamper consisting of tantalizing truckles that will get your taste buds tingling! "Win a luxury handmade cheese hamper from Shetland Cheese. Based on the Westside, at Skeld Creamery, cheesemaker Jay Hawkins produces a range to appeal to most tastes using local milk and traditional techniques. Made in small batches and slowly matured in cloth – there are the classic "Soothe Mooth" or Sandstinger cheeses, or modern flavoured cheeses to challenge any taste buds, such as chilli, cumin, caraway or piri piri. Your hamper will include a kilo selection of cheese, a jar of fabulous chutney from Vidlin and Shetland's favourite oatcakes from Unst – the perfect combination!"
PS Congratulations to Fair Isle knitter - Mati Ventrillon for flying the flag for Shetland and HM The Queen's Diamond Jubilee in Oxford Street during May. Mati was chosen as one of six unsung heroes of Great British Craft and Design and her portrait (with Fair Isle jumper) was featured on one of the fashion flags showcased and seen by millions of shoppers! Read all about this Brit Cool event here. Also, a date for your diary - Sunday, 10th June - the Olympic torch will reach Lerwick - a wonderful occasion to celebrate the truly inspirational people of Shetland.
See you soon!
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The team at www.SHETLAND.org
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